Plotter or pantser?
Since I saw many posts about it this past week, I decided to write my own.
First, for my friends who are not in the writing world, the definition of each:
Plotter–a writer who plots, meaning that, before writing the novel, the writer comes up with an outline of the novel.
Pantser–a writer who wings it! A writer who just sits at his chair and let his mind run free while jotting down everything.
Second, I think that there are more categories in between a heavy-plotter and a free-pantser. Many more.
I’m in the middle, for example. More to the plotter side, I confess. Well, truth be told, if you ask me, I’ll tell you I’m a plotter.
This is how I normally do it: I create an outline … sometimes it’s detailed (but not more than 4 or 5 typed pages) with some dialogue sentences that already popped into my mind or an specific setting, sometimes my outline is per chapter or scene, and sometimes it’s just a direction from where it begins and where it has to end, with a few bridges along the way.
Then I begin writing.
And I let my writing to take me where it wants to go. If a scene takes off and escapes me all of a sudden but it has a good promise and I like it, I follow it–though I keep in my mind where, in the end, I want to get with it, or where it has to lead me.
Ninety-five percent of the time I know the ending of my novel. The other five showed up when I let the scenes reign over, and I didn’t regret it.
Yes, if I have a sequel planned and change the end of the previous volume, I’ll have to rework the sequel’s plot outline, but that is always fun.
I like creating plots. It’s nice to see where your story goes and add twists and surprises along the road.
On an article on the web about this same topic, I read that plotters may lose their interest in the story because it’s not fresh anymore. Since they already know where they are going and what their character will come up with, it’s not fun to write about it anymore and the writing becomes dull, with boring scenes.
Perhaps that’s why I let the excitement take me over when a dialogue I did not foresee suddenly leads to a heated argument? If it is, it’s not a conscious choice.
I think plotting is like life. You prepare for it, you organize everything and everyone around you for it, you plan for it (sometimes many years ahead), but you’re never really ready for it. Life comes with many surprises we do not and cannot predict and we just wing it! We wing it, adapting the new curves and twists to our previous plans.
And that’s exactly how I write.